Achievement House Blog

Iste Program Spotlight

Taking the Conference World by Storm: ISTE 2019

Julia DeBald

Achievement House Cyber Charter School has continued to prove that by embracing new technology, implementing future ready standards into curriculum, and thinking outside the box, our students are given chances to learn skills that allow them to stand out from their future workforce competitors. With this mindset at the forefront of all lesson plans, it is only fitting that 6 AHCCS teachers were recently accepted to present at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference this June. With an estimated 30,000 attendees, this will be a wonderful opportunity for our staff to reach educators from around the globe and show them how they can integrate technology into their everyday teachings.   

Less than 1/3 of the 6,000 applications were accepted,” Presenter Ms. Gina Grandy says. “The fact that all of our staff’s proposals were accepted into the conference isn’t just a huge deal, it’s almost unheard of.  As a small cyber charter school, we generally get less recognition and it’s a hurdle that we learn to jump over. It is extremely impressive that we will have six presenters all from the same school.

Presenter Ms. Brittany Wentz believes this conference will give our teachers the chance to pioneer cyber education and what best practices should be used for online learning. While our teachers will continue to advocate for online learning, they explained the value behind collaborating with all kinds of teachers at the conference, not just other cyber educators. Presenter Ms. Katie Mastauskas echoed Ms. Wentz’s sentiments by stating that finding out what other schools are doing and swapping ideas is one of the most beneficial opportunities she has experienced as a teacher. For Ms. Wentz, communicating ideas is the only way for the education world to keep prospering. 

Teaching in a cyber environment has only been around for a little while, and it didn’t look like how it does now, nor will it look the same in 5 or 10 years,” Ms. Wentz says. “Through my own research, I found recent articles dating back only to 2017 or 2018, and I realized that we as a school are already adopting some of the practices being discussed by experts in the field. This is why it is so important that we get our message out there and share our knowledge with other educators.

As our staff prepares for their presentations, they can reflect on the types of advances they have made in their own classrooms and present them as first-hand success stories. This allows for our students to be a part of the conference, even without being physically present. With endless opportunities for these teachers to show how much of a vital role our students play in making these discoveries possible, we can shed light on the impact student participation truly makes. 

Students should pay attention to the different activities we do in class, because it could be something that we end up presenting at ISTE,” Presenter Mr. Jim Flick says. “They just don’t know what parts of their course work might cross over into something we discuss at an international conference!

Congratulations to Ms. Brittany Wentz, Mr. Tyler Hughes, Ms. Katie Mastauskas, Ms. Gina Grandy, Ms. Veronica Far, and Mr. Jim Flick on such a huge accomplishment! Everyone here at AHCCS is so proud to have you on our staff.